Handling financial matters when a family member passes away

Financial support and entitlements that may be available when a family member loses their life at work.

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Getting your finances in order

When you are grieving, it is difficult to think about what you need to do, especially in relation to organising your finances. We will help outline some of the important matters you may need to deal with.

Things you should look into

 

Death certificate  

You may find that it is difficult to work out any financial matters until you have received your family member's death certificate. The release of a death certificate may take several weeks, though it is possible to request an interim death certificate from the Coroners Court.

 

Financial advice  

It may be helpful for you to make an appointment for financial counselling to help you plan ahead. There are several organisations that provide financial counselling (some free of charge).

 

Life insurance  

Your family member may have had one or more life insurance policies. It is worthwhile checking with your loved one's superannuation fund about this.

 

A will  

Check if your family member made a will. If unsure, your family lawyer or the State Trustee may hold the original copy of the will or be able to provide you with advice if a will hasn't been prepared.

Your financial matters

Urgent bills

In emergency circumstances, regular bills can sometimes be suspended for a period of time, including mortgage, car loan, direct debit bills and credit cards payments.

We recommend getting in touch with your financial institutions or credit service providers to see if this can be arranged.

Services Australia assistance

If you're in a difficult financial position, you may wish to contact Services Australia (Centrelink). They can let you know if you are entitled to any financial assistance. For more information, please contact the Family Assistance office on 136 150 or their multilingual phone service on 131 202.

Support with funeral expenses

If eligible, WorkSafe is able to pay reasonable costs for:

  • burial or cremation service (which may include a wake or gathering) to honour and celebrate the life of your family member, up to $15,230
  • repatriation (transportation) of your loved one to their home state or country for burial or cremation, up to $15,000.

If you’re not eligible and have concerns about your ability to pay for the funeral, please contact WorkSafe's Advisory service on 1800 136 089 for help to explore other options.

WorkSafe entitlements

* Amounts are indexed annually; those provided apply to deaths that occur on or after 1 July 2022.

** Amounts are indexed annually; those provided apply to claims made on or after 5 April 2010 and to payments from 1 July 2022.

Note: for prior amounts, please contact the WorkSafe agent or call WorkSafe's Advisory service.

Your loved one’s financial matters

Your family member may have had personal insurance or other entitlements that are payable after their death.

Some payments can be paid to the person they nominated (without the need for a will) while others may need to be paid into their estate; the estate will then be managed by:

  • if there is no will, the person named in the Letters of Administration (issued by the Supreme Court)
  • if there is a will, the Executor of their estate (as named in the will)

Superannuation

Your family member may have one or more super funds. You should get in touch with the fund sooner rather than later to ensure you can receive any available benefits.

If you are unaware of the fund, you can contact your family member's employer, Union or the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to help find out the name and contact details of the super fund. We encourage you to have a support person with you when making these calls.

Previous superannuation

Your family member may also have had contributions paid by a past employer into other superannuation funds and lost contact with them.

You can check this by contacting the Australian Taxation Office Lost Members Register.

Employment entitlements

Your family member may have unpaid annual leave, long service leave or portable long service (for industries such building and construction, contract cleaning, security and community services).

These entitlements are often paid to the estate of the person that has passed away. If you are unaware of any employment entitlements, you can contact your family member's employer or union or:

  • CoINVEST for workers within the building and construction industry
  • Portable Long Service Authority for workers within the contract cleaning, security and community services industries

Information and support you might need

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options

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